Making magic with Disney: Danielle Nicole designs around an icon

Nadee Bandaranayake
Retail Gets Real
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Dream job doesn’t even begin to describe Danielle DiFerdinando’s career. The young fashion designer started the Danielle Nicole brand of handbags as a student and has grown the business through partnerships with retailers such as HSN.  Her career took off during an internship at Bergdorf Goodman when a cosmetic buyer complimented one of her handmade purses. Soon after, DiFerdinando became the youngest vendor to launch a handbag collection at Bergdorf Goodman.

Before attending the NRF Foundation Gala 2018 in January as an alumnus on The List of People Shaping Retails Future, DiFerdinando joined Retail Gets Real to chat about the thrill of working on a magical line of handbags and what drives her creative spirit.

Following the recession in 2008, DiFerdinando transitioned her line from luxury to “affordable luxury” and began offering her handbags for under $100. Danielle Nicole’s call to fame came when Oprah noticed the brand’s creative designs. Years of hard work paid off when DiFerdinando was named one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in 2015.

Danielle DiFerdinando (middle) with co-hosts Katie McBreen (right) and Bill Thorne (left).

Danielle DiFerdinando (middle) with co-hosts Katie McBreen (right) and Bill Thorne (left).

While Danielle Nicole’s core business continues to serve retailers like Nordstrom and HSN, DiFerdinando flexes her creative muscles through partnerships with Disney and Harry Potter. She creates imaginative bags featuring classic characters like Snow White and Tinker Bell to bring fashion and entertainment together in a fun way. Part of the creative process is meeting with the character artists, then reinterpreting their artwork in her own, original way. 

Even after years of recognition, DiFerdinando still gets excited when she sees someone carrying her bags. “I get goosebumps,” she says. “It makes you feel so happy to see a girl smiling and feeling confident while wearing one of your bags.”

Listen to this episode to learn more about the story behind Danielle Nicole. Learn more about The List and nominate someone for the 2019 class.

Nadee Bandaranayake is an assistant producer on NRF’s Retail Gets Real podcast. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.